Aggression in dogs is an awful thing to have to deal with. You might love your dog, but not want them to be allowed near strangers or other dogs in case they bite. This can lead to your pet living in isolation and you living in constant worry. Luckily, it is possible to rehabilitate an aggressive dog.
However, this does not mean it will be easy. Dogs can get used to reacting aggressively to things, to the extent that it becomes their default behaviour, which can be an extremely difficult habit to break. However, this does not mean it is by any means impossible if you are willing to put in the effort.
Protect yourself and your family
The first step is to make sure everyone is physically safe from your dog. The precautions you will need to take will depend on your dog's behaviour; they might be absolutely fine at home, for example, but get aggressive when they are outside.
A muzzle is an absolute must for whenever your dog is going to be in a situation when they might get aggressive. You should anticipate these situations and put the muzzle on while your dog is still calm. If you wait until they get agitated, they will come to associate the muzzle with scenarios that cause it to become afraid, making it much harder for you to get it on in future.
Your dog gets a lot of its information about how to react from you. As such, it is very easy to accidentally make an aggressive dog worse. If you are nervous, scared or animated around your dog, then they will start acting like this as well, making aggression more likely. You should remain calm and assertive at all times in order to keep your dog in check.
Face their fears
Dogs are most often aggressive because they are afraid and do not have the mental or emotional capacity to deal with that in any way besides lashing out. As their owner, the best thing you can do is expose them to scenarios that scare them in order to show them there's nothing to worry about.
Combine the advice you've read so far - stay calm and use a muzzle - while you are outside and you should be able to get your dog to stop being aggressive after a while.
Written by: Hannah